COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 05:  Wrestler Kurt Angle gets inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame at the Arnold Sports Festival 2016 on March 5, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
How Kurt Angle Went From Olympic Gold Medalist To Pro Wrestling Legend
Kurt Angle began wrestling at age seven and won the 1987 Pennsylvania State Wrestling Championship during his senior year in high school. At Clarion University, he won two NCAA championships and became a three-time All-American before winning the USA Junior Freestyle event in 1987 and the IFAW Junior Freestyle Championship in 1988.
Early Amateur Wrestling
Although winning Olympic gold on the U.S. Team, Angle said, "There were a lot of moments where I didn't think I was gonna wrestle in the Olympics." He continued, "For one, I couldn't get a doctor to clear me. My neck was broken — I had three discs sticking directly in my spinal cord."
1996 Summer Olympics
In 1996, the UFC was still young, and Angle could've stepped into the cage, saying, "I believe I'd have been as good in MMA as I was in pro wrestling, but I don't regret it." He continued, "If the money was there in MMA when I came out of the Olympics, I'd have gone into MMA. [...] But I love pro wrestling, so it wasn't meant to be for me."
Almost went to MMA
After the 1996 Summer Olympics, Angle wasn't ready to jump to WWE. He said, "The terms of the contract was a half-million dollars a year for 10 years." Angle admitted to listening to people around him who didn't have a clear understanding of what professional wrestling was as entertainment, claiming that his agent made the decision for him.
WWE tries to sign in 1996
Although Angle didn't sign with WWE in 1996, he made an appearance at an ECW with his gold medal to do commentary on a match with Little Guido and Taz. On this infamous night, Raven crucified The Sandman, and as it was so controversial, Angle demanded that it not air with his appearance.
The ECW Incident